Well, what do we have here? During the Indonesia-based virtual reveal of the new BR-V yesterday, Honda teased the existence of a new model that it says we should all be excited over. The car is covered in red cloth but the silhouette and the presence of roof rails suggest that it will be an SUV.
So what is it? Honda does have a pretty comprehensive lineup of crossovers in Indonesia, with the BR-V, HR-V and CR-V covering all the major segments. The BR-V has just been refreshed, and while the HR-V is due for a replacement, the different daytime running light signature and the roof rails suggest that this isn’t the next-generation model. The CR-V is also pretty long in the tooth, but its successor hasn’t been revealed yet and we don’t think such an important global model would be teased during a regional reveal.
Where Honda is currently found wanting is in the entry-level SUV segment, which is being overrun in Malaysia by the Perodua Ativa and in Indonesia by the related Daihatsu Rocky and Toyota Raize. Could the company then be building a smaller five-seater model based on the seven-seater BR-V? It isn’t outside the realm of possibility, given that the latter is based on the sub-four-metre Amaze sedan.
Adding a cheaper SUV would give Honda a leg up in this area, helping it cater towards young buyers. Despite the Indonesian market being dominated by seven-seaters, the Raize was the eighth best-selling passenger car last month with 2,883 units sold, outselling the Honda Brio hatch. In Malaysia, the Ativa reached sales of 4,624 units in April, just a month after its launch.
The unnamed SUV could be a smaller five-seater version of the new BR-V
As it turns out, Honda already has the perfect engine for the car – a 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder already found in the City in Thailand, producing 122 PS at 5,500 rpm and 173 Nm of torque from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm. That mill is mated to a CVT in the Land of Smiles.
Conversely, the unnamed SUV could take the form of a seven-seater even smaller than the BR-V, enabling Honda to compete in the Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) segment that also contains the Brio. The Daihatsu Sigra and Toyota Calya twins currently have a stranglehold on this part of the market, powered by naturally-aspirated 1.0 and 1.2 litre mills.
Whichever form it will take, don’t hold your breath for the car to arrive in Malaysia. Honda holds a relatively elevated brand image in Malaysia, something that could be affected by a small SUV. The company also appears to be reluctant to compete point-blank against Perodua in its backyard – it doesn’t sell the Axia-sized Brio here and its BR-V competed solely against the Toyota Rush before the Aruz entered the picture.
But an A-segment Honda SUV would certainly be an enticing proposition over here, provided that it can be priced competitively against the Ativa – judging by the BR-V’s steep price hike last year, that is certainly not a given. As for a LCGC Honda MPV-cum-SUV, you can forget about it, as a tiny seven-seater with a minuscule NA engine isn’t going to fly with our more, ahem, discerning buyers.
The post Honda SUV teased at 2022 BR-V reveal – Ativa rival? appeared first on Paul Tan’s Automotive News.